Born and raised in Akron, Ohio, back on December 30th, 1984, LeBron James has come a long way and has put a lot of work in and out of the gym to become arguably, the state’s biggest pride, in history.
Son of Gloria Marie James and Anthony McClelland, the King was born when his mother was just 16 years old. His father, an alcoholic, was never around and bailed on him and his mother, so he had a rough time growing up.
James was always close to basketball. Since he was a kid, he was clearly gifted. It also helped he was way taller than most kids. His mother quickly took notice and gave him his first basketball. He was a great athlete and also played football, but things weren’t that great for him off the court, where he had trouble making friends. That’s why Frankie Walker played such a huge role in his life. He was his first coach and father figure, and he took him in to give him a steady home and help him with school, and also teach him the art of basketball since he was just 9 years old.
High School Years
Thanks to Walker, LeBron was able to enroll in St. Vincent-St. Mary High School with three other friends. Known as the Fab Four, they put that tiny institute in the map and led them to vast success. LeBron decided to wear the number 23 jersey in honor to his biggest idol: Michael Jordan, and was named Mr. Basketball three times in a row, also winning a couple of MVP awards at high school.
Thanks to his athletic gifts, maturity and talent, he skipped college to make it to the NBA and was drafted 1st overall by his hometown’s Cleveland Cavaliers back in 2003, joining other standout athletes like Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade. LeBron instantly made the Cavaliers relevant, won the Rookie of the Year award and helped them grow one of the strongest fan bases in the country, even though he wasn’t able to find success in the playoffs.
James led the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals, but the team was humiliated by the San Antonio Spurs, who beat them 4-0. Then, sick and tired of constantly falling short of his goal, he decided to take his talents to the Miami Heat. Notably, he became the most hated man in Cleveland back then, with fans burning his jerseys and constantly insulting him every time he visited the town. Still, he was finally able to fulfill his dream of becoming an NBA champion next to Wade and Bosh at South Florida.
James stood with the Heat for 4 seasons and made it to 4 straight NBA Finals, winning two of them against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs, and losing the other two against those same Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks.
After losing again to the Spurs, James decided to come back home and join the Cleveland Cavaliers, vowing to finally win a championship with his hometown team next to Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving. James led them to 3 straight trips to the Finals and even beat the almighty Golden State Warriors in 2016 right after they had broken the record for most wins in the regular season, completing the ultimate redemption story before leaving again to join the Los Angeles Lakers, where he’ll keep on writing history as one of the greatest players the game has ever seen.